'Influencers' help fashion retail shift to digital advertising

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 02 2017 02:13 PM | Updated as of Sep 02 2017 03:45 PM

MANILA - Social media celebrities who post outfits against a background of dream vacation spots are helping drive fashion retailing in the Philippines, a marketing executive said. 

The "influencers" are not necessarily movie and television stars but they set the style, especially for those who are glued to their Instagram and Facebook feeds all day, said Forever21 Philippines marketing manager Merell Beltran.

"Somehow, what they wear becomes inspirational and you want to try the clothes they wear," Beltran told ABS-CBN News. 

"Before, we just browse magazines. Now we have all these social media influencers that you get to engage with on a day-to-day basis by looking or commenting on their Instagram feed or Facebook posts," she said. 

Some influencers on Instagram have tens of thousands of followers. Beltran said they are more effective when they engage their audience. 

Forever21's Philippine page on Instagram has 329,000 followers. 

Since its foray into the Philippines in 2010, Forever21 has opened 15 branches, most of which occupy huge spaces in malls. The fast fashion brand hopes to open 2 more. 

While "digital is the way to go," Beltran said Forever21 still spends on print and billboard ads. 

"The fact that we continuously open the brand to more territories not just in Manila, but in provinces, allows us to really expand our reach to allow more people to love the brand and experience it," she said.